Knowledge strategy is a term that initially appeared in the late 1990s; it is an organization’s strategy applied in its business activities that are linked to its intellectual resources and abilities. Knowledge strategy engages the identification of knowledge gaps and knowledge surpluses; the identification is done through the process of knowledge management strategy. It is important to note that the management of both gaps and surpluses of knowledge in an organization is mainly aimed at improving the business performance of an organization (Reischuk and Morvan, p. 601).
Knowledge management for Bank of America
The current business environment is described by perpetual radical changes which makes the business climate to be volatile. The volatile business climate requires a totally new attitude and appropriate approach in an organization. The actions adopted within the business organization must be rooted in faster cycle of knowledge formation. The need for knowledge in a business environment is facilitated by existence of certain challenges (Denison, p. 492). These challenges include, but not limited to:
- Increasing importance to ensuring customer value and also improving services given to customers;
- The existence of market that is increasingly becoming highly competitive and experiencing high rates of innovation;
- The need to reduce the cycle times and make product development period shorter.
- Due to constantly changing assumptions and rules of the business, there is need for organizational adaptation.
- The need for business to continue operating with dwindling business assets which include inventory, facilities, and people.
- There is also need to reduce the length of period taken by workers and staff to attain new knowledge and
- The unavoidable variations in strategic directions and the mobility of workforce that leads to loss of knowledge from the business.
Improvement and establishment of innovative products are highly increasing; this is coupled with an progressing customer necessities and preferences (Hirose, p. 856). It is therefore crucial for managers and Chief Executive Officers to take seriously the issues that pertain to customers; the customers must not be viewed on the surface. The business executives must go beyond conducting surveys and filling feedback forms.
The business organizations have become more intricate. The information has also become more readily accessible. Many Chief Executive Officers and managers who are disturbed with their organizations have become more concerned with how to ensure that knowledge flows freely and ways of controlling and managing the critical flow of information and knowledge at the same time. All these aspects necessitate knowledge management (Morey, p. 82). This therefore, implies that a business organization must come up with clear ways of discovering, establishing, diffusing and putting knowledge to use. In certain circumstances, the management of knowledge is more indispensable to the organizations success than labor and/or capital yet it is frequently neglected (Nonaka 1). For instance, the sequence of supply depends greatly on information from varied areas which follows the sequence of mapping, manufacturing of products, storing, and finally distribution of finished products.
The Importance of Knowledge to the Business
Knowledge management is important to business organizations in many ways to both private and public sectors. There is prospective loss of employees brought about by the retirements of aged workers. High rate of workers turnover, lack of adequate training and the affinity of an organization to keep status quo are features that are to blame for the impediment to the retention of knowledge and organizational expansion (Ahmed, p. 169). When employees leave an organization, they take away wealth of knowledge about their work from the organization. Therefore, information management is a technique the institute may use in an effort to secure and refill the learning experience and work product of the groups of individuals who labor in the organization. Knowledge management adds immense value to a business institution. Some of the advantages that accrue due to information management include:
- Knowledge in an organization assists in bettering and ensuring a more informed resolution making process;
- Knowledge adds to the intellectual assets of the company;
- It inspires the free course of thoughts within the company and leads to insights into advancements and improvement;
- Knowledge eradicates unessential processes, downsizes operations and also enhances employee retention rates. This implies that it reduces the rate of employee turnover;
- It helps the company to improve on customer services and ensures efficiency and effectiveness in all the operations of the company’s business activities
- Most importantly, knowledge management in the company leads to high and effective productivity.
Integrating Knowledge Management into Business Strategy and Operations
The first step in integrating knowledge into the company is to embed it in policy, strategy and the process of implementation in the company. In order to advance the company’s operations in a successful and efficient manner to achieve the goals and objectives of its strategic arrangements, there should be a number of knowledge intentions that should be incorporated into the company’s strategic visualization. Such objectives include:
- Get and accrue, to the maximum level feasible, the worker knowledge that is crucial to the company’s operations and other key company’s decisions;
- Ensuring increased access to knowledge by the employees; the information accessed by the employees should be necessary and appropriate for their efficient and effective performance in a consistent manner;
- The company should inspire a tradition of knowledge sharing and re-use within the company;
To effectively implement the above objectives it is important to ensure that a more integrated network of knowledge is created, there is formalized way of systematized capturing of knowledge and also the incentives to reuse knowledge are strengthened.
The second step in the process of integrating knowledge management into the company’s strategy involves: establishing knowledge-oriented tradition within the company, putting into place effective motivational instruments and enhancing senior executive support. To transform the company into a knowledge-based organization it is important to undertake the following:
- The company should have a knowledge development council to perform as the company’s knowledge development and management steering committee. This committee should also have the responsibility of facilitating development and on-going process of nurturing efforts of knowledge management; the council should include representatives from all the company’s departments;
- The company should put up a wide-based group of people to form the company’s infrastructure that is concerned with the development of the company’s knowledge management. The group should also be charged with the responsibility of providing for knowledge management and also play the role of analyzing and disseminating so as to ensure that every department of the company gets appropriate information
- Establish appropriate codes and assign knowledge managers and knowledge wardens as discussed above throughout the codes;
- The company should consider establishing lead knowledge management scheme on the internet; the system should be placed tactically within the company. In this case, it comprises company’s most excellent and or most awful practices, frequently asked questions (FAQ) and responds, issues, things learnt, appropriate documentation and finally online pulls of serious knowledge extracted from professionals and specialists in the company.
Specific knowledge management channel may include linking experts at the company to technological locales of proficiency through online yellow pages of know-how, establishing and nurturing online communities of performance that entails lessons learnt; identify an area of department that has most requirements in which knowledge is at risk of being missed; the company should then come up with online-based professional and knowledge maintenance system in order to capture the knowledge and the strategies of the professional in such an area (Wallace 117).
- The company should join together its existing knowledge management linked databases in all company departments; this may particularly be done with respect to technological curator program;
- Establish information storage area to capture the thinking and resolution making process that lies behind Research and Development. For example, this may include reasons certain assessments are run, reasons for failure of certain programs and / or technologies whiles others succeeded
- The efforts of integrating knowledge management into the company’s strategies also involve providing motivational rewards arrangement to inspire employees to share knowledge amongst themselves;
- It is also important to come up with certification and training schedules on the company’s key functions and processes; it is appropriate to use the team concept where relevant in order to enable stakeholders to meet, network, and learn from one another.
- Ensure that each department has comprehensive processing manuals availed through the intranet and should be updated on regular basis
- Develop programs used in recruiting new company employees; the program should work on an on-going basis and also provide for formal mentoring plans for the new recruits;
- The company should develop certain knowledge parameters that are to be integrated into yearly job assessment. In this context, lessons learnt during development and implementation of company projects should be encoded before the final sign-off.
- The company’s retired key experts and other experts should be contacted to tap and keep their knowledge in the knowledge management system. It will also be crucial and appropriate for the company to adopt a policy of bringing back its retired experts on part time basis; this will provide the existing employees with an opportunity to tap knowledge from the former employees. For example this can be done in the form of retired annuitants
- The company to continue encouraging employees to share knowledge in basic company’s fundamental equities at informal gatherings like get together so as to ease the materialization of communities of practice in which knowledge is shared in an on-going basis; and lastly
- It is important for the company to support directors to present internal discussion groups on hot topics on an on-going basis.
Examples of Companies with Successful Knowledge Management Strategy
There are several business entities and companies that have become successful with knowledge management strategy. By introducing virtual teamwork using videoconferencing BP have been able to achieve quickened solutions to crucial corporate challenges, Hoffman La Roche has managed to reduce the cost and time involved in regulatory approvals for drugs by implementing a programme of “Right First Time”, Skandia Assurance have realized faster revenue growth than its industrial average by establishing new-fangled measure of intellectual capital and setting goals for its managers on increasing value, Hewlett-Packard has managed to establish new products in the market much quicker than before by encouraging sharing of expertise within the company and Texas Instruments, by sharing finest practices between its semiconductor production plants saved the equivalent of spending on a new plant (Insight 5).
Recommendation for Knowledge Management Solution
Knowledge management and development is a crucial component of the bank. The following forms the recommendations to the company as regards the knowledge management solution based on the nature of business activities of the bank:
- The company should place more emphasis on thematic groups and let it form the heart of the bank’s soul of knowledge management. The groups should be as many as they may be deemed necessary by the bank. The bank should provide the groups with facilitators. These may include retired professionals or experts.
- The company should have an online policy that is consistently implemented and integrated in the system in order to meet the requirements of the bank as an institution, the small business units and the thematic groups. The policy should elucidate what should be shown on the company’s website. This includes internal knowledge management;
- The committee responsible for knowledge management should constitute stakeholders from outside the bank so that they can bring in the external perspective in knowledge management. This will ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the process of knowledge management;
- The company should consider developing knowledge services for both of its existing and potential clients. This will help the customers to understand the services of the bank. It will also provide them with knowledge on how to use banking facilities like ATMs and also acquire knowledge where to get help or assistance in cases of the company’s business related services;
- The knowledge management strategy should draw from the bank’s traditional potency with regards to technology and capability.
- The bank should restate the mission of its knowledge management and disseminate it to all levels of management. In fact, it should ensure that all the employees, staff and other stakeholders clearly understand the mission of knowledge management in the company.
- It should also come up with strategies on how knowledge can flow to and from all the departments of the bank. The channels through which knowledge should be less bureaucratic as much as possible;
- Compare new knowledge from each thematic group and ensure all the groups get the necessary knowledge from other groups. This will help in achieving uniformity in terms of employees know-how
- The committee charged with knowledge management should continuously research on new information that may be crucial to the enhancement in the operations of the company. This may involve learning other banks, doing internet-based research, and engaging all the stakeholders in brainstorming session;
- The bank can also offer scholarships related to its business operations to highly performing employees. The employees should be offered more attractive salary packages in order to retain them;
- The company should also establish measures and ways of assessing the progress of knowledge management. It should be ready to regulate the nature of knowledge that enters the company’s system. In this context, it is important to note that not all the information flowing into the company system from outside is crucial for the business operation of the company. Some information may be detrimental to the normal operations of the bank’s business activities.
- Ahmed, Pervaiz. et al. Learning through knowledge management. Woburn: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002.
- Denison, Daniel. “Managing organizational change in transition economies.” LEA’s organization and management series. New Jersey: Routledge, 2001.
- Hirose, Michitaka. “Human-computer interaction: INTERACT ’01.” IFIP TC.13 International Conference on Human-Comupter Interaction, 9th-13th July 2001, Tokyo, Japan. Netherlands: IOS Press, 2001.
- Insight. “Knowledge Management.” Making sense of an oxymoron. 2008.
- Morey, Daryl. et al. “Knowledge management.” Classic and contemporary works. United States: MIT Press, 2002.
- Nonaka, Ikujirō. “Knowledge management.” Critical perspectives on business and management. U.S.A: Taylor & Francis, 2005.
- Reischuk, Rüdiger., and Morvan, Michel. “STACS 97: 14th Annual Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science, Lübeck, Germany, February 27-March 1, 1997 : proceedings.” Volume 1200 of Lecture notes in computer science. New York: Springer, 1997.
- Wallace, Danny. “Knowledge management: historical and cross-disciplinary themes.” Libraries Unlimited knowledge management series. United States: Libraries Unlimited, 2007.